Vauxhall has been very much concentrating on the Vivaro medium panel van in the past year as the first brand new model was unleashed since its original launch in 2001.
In fact, there was so much hoo-hah about the Vivaro at the last CV Show in April that visitors could be forgiven for completely missing the upgraded Movano that was also on the manufacturer’s stand.
While not a new model by any means, there were enough changes included to keep this doyen of the heavy van market competitive, especially when up against rivals such as the new Ford Transit.
The Movano has been slightly recrafted at the front end and there is a new set of engines promising more fuel-efficiency. It is now available in front- and rear-wheel drive too, in line with its rival from the blue oval.
The model also comes in the usual array of shapes and sizes, and features a 2.3-litre turbodiesel powerplant offering 110bhp, 125bhp, 136bhp and 163bhp. The more powerful models have a twin-turbo unit fitted.
Our test model, which is priced at £27,093 ex-VAT, is the medium wheelbase, medium high roof, front-wheel drive variant with the 136bhp engine. It gets an Ecoflex moniker, which denotes a standard stop-start system and other efficiency adjustments which equate to an official fuel economy figure of 40.9mpg on the combined cycle.
In the rear, there is 10.8 cu m of loadspace and the van has a payload of 1,610kg.
The Movano has a commanding presence on the road, while its lower quarters and sides are liberally swathed in black plastic to help prevent those annoying knocks and scrapes that tend to happen during a busy fleet life.
It was a big climb up into the cab, which in turn meant that I had a good high (and safe) view of the road ahead. Meanwhile, the cab had that big truck feel, with plenty of legroom and headroom, while the driver’s seat hugs the figure from top to bottom, ideal for long journeys.
There were some nice touches too, such as the clipboard that popped out of a hole in the upper dash, passenger seats that lifted up to reveal hidden storage areas, a 12-volt take-off on top of the dash so that a plug-in sat-nav didn’t leave wires dangling all over the place and no fewer than four coffee cup holders.
In the test model there was also a big screen TomTom sat-nav, placed where the rear view mirror would normally be. It doesn’t have a touchscreen so the operator has to scroll around the keyboard with a cursor on the remote control, and this little addition comes at an eye-watering £960 extra.
In the back, there is enough headroom so that six-footers can stand upright and there are six load-lashing eyes in the floor, with two more on the sides near the rear door. It could do with two half-height eyes near the bulkhead too.
The van also features full ply-lining for £175 – a necessity in my book to keep the rear-end clean for when the van comes to be sold.
On the road, the Movano offered a pleasing driving experience and the 136bhp powerplant is about right for a van of this size, which is likely to carry heavy loads. I had already tested the 110bhp unit and felt it was somewhat underpowered.